The Right Stuff – Part 1

Have you decided to start your own business?  Generally, people who start their own businesses can be grouped into two broad categories. The first group consists of people who know exactly what they want to do and are merely looking for the opportunity or resources to do it. Usually, these people have already developed many of the skills necessary to succeed in their chosen field. They are also likely to be familiar with industry customs and practices, which can help during the startup phase of a new business.

The second group consists of people who want to start their own business, but don’t have any real definite ideas about what they’d like to do. While these people have developed skills in the course of their employment or education, they may not be interested in opening a business in the same field of endeavor.

Regardless of which category you fall in, it is helpful to know if you have the “right stuff” to run a small business. Most people who are interested in starting a new business would answer with a resounding “yes!” But the purpose of this article is not to arrive at a yes or a no answer; it’s really just to help you evaluate your strengths and weaknesses so that you’ll be in a better position to make certain decisions that you’ll have to make before you start a new small business.

There are two distinctly different roles you’ll play while preparing to open and run your own small business. Each requires specific skills.

  • On the one hand, you’re the person who will be responsible for providing products or services to your customers. This is true whether you have employees or not.
  • On the other hand, you also have to deal with all the activities that relate to running your business. You need to be able to handle both in order to succeed.

Since every business is unique, the specific skill set needed to provide products or services will vary. Do your best to gauge the scope of activities that make up the business. Be particularly careful not to overlook the less-enjoyable aspects of the business (and every business has a few). Regardless of your desire to go into business for yourself, if you lack needed skills, it’s unlikely you’ll succeed unless you find a way to compensate.

Depending on the skills you have, and which skills you do not yet have, one business may be better suited to you than another. This article series will simply help you evaluate yourself so you find the best possible fit.

Over the next few days we will begin the process of examining your strengths and weaknesses through 3 steps:

  • The first step is assessing your strengths and weaknesses.
  • The second step is looking at the personality traits of a successful owner.
  • The third step is comparing the two lists and deciding what to do.

Be sure to come back as we look a little deeper into more aspects of “The Right Stuff”.  Come on, I’m confident that you have it!


Mark “Gunny” Thomas

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